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After boy's death, Blair residents say heavy truck traffic is too much

Posted at 9:16 PM, Aug 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 22:16:24-04

BLAIR, Neb. (KMTV) — A boy is dead after a semi hit him at a busy intersection in a Blair.

Jaycoby Estrada was riding his bicycle in the intersection of 19th and Washington Street.

He was a sixth grader at Otte Blair Middle School.

"Well the big trucks go too fast, they come too close to the cars that are parked, a person getting out, has to be very careful or they'll get hit, or their door or mirror will get taken out,” says Raeann Smith, who works in Blair.

People in Blair including those who work downtown, say the number of huge trucks coming through this area, has been an enormous problem.

"It's sort of annoying getting stuck behind him, there's a lot of stoplights around here and they take a little while to get going and then they have to stop again and then there's a lot of noise pollution from them,” says Crystal Flannery, a Blair resident.

That can hurt downtown businesses like Our Specialtea.

"They don't want to park and then try to wait to get out so they'll go to Walmart where we don't have to mess with this,” says Smith.

A few residents complained that the trucks go too fast and run red lights. City council member Jon Stewart says Blair police are trying to clamp down.

"Our police chief and our police force, and I've seen them, people say they don't stop trucks, in the last few months I've seen them stop a few semi's,” says Stewart.

Some, if not many residents, want to see the trucks take their own way, outside of town.

"It would be nice if they were was an alternate route for them to go if they didn't have to come directly through town,” says Flannery.

Well at least one new truck route is coming.

The city is in the bid process for a bypass that would connect Highway 30 and Highway 75 on the south end of town.

Stewart estimates that will reduce the truck traffic by a quarter.

To get roads to take away even more traffic, that's going to cost tens of millions of dollars, and possibly an increase in taxes.

It would definitely need federal and state help, along with lots of long-term planning.

“You've got to have some hard figures and you've got to have a project in hand where you're saying I'm going to build this, I'm going down to do this and that take a lot of federal red tape to get through too."

This is the second Otte Middle School student to die in an accident this summer.

In July 14-year-old Heidy Martinez was killed in a crash in rural Washington County.

Five other teens were injured in that wreck.